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Retro Reverb Records Chart Toppers for Sept. 2021

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.


1. Psyborg Corp. - Derelict Skylines

This is song a tale of humanity’s self-destruction and a tiny spark of hope clinging on. A powerful bass and drum heartbeat moves slowly below whispers that hiss and writhe. Mandi’s expressive, theatrical vocals tremble out over the deep pulse below them. A chiming, full, digital-sounding synth line moves while the thick throb of the drums adds more strength to the song.

Mandi’s delicate vocals cry out while the active synths glow in cascading chimes. and A wildly spinning, minor key guitar solo leaps out in an intricate line while blocks of synth sound rise and fall, dense over the endless seeming drive below them. The vocals echo out again, telling the tales of decaying, crumbling cities and fragile hope in the face of desolation.

2. Michael Kross - Magnetic Touches

This is a song full of aching need and emotion. An airy, caressing and gentle flow of smooth synth is joined by a drum fill and Nikki Dodds’ rich, warmly expressive vocals come in as the scudding beat skips along and a lush percussion pulse dances. This song also benefits from unique production elements from Morphoice. Shimmering synth lights shine out and the drums gain more energy, flying along in a skimming pattern while deep bass wells up.

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String-like sounds intertwine while the dancing beat propels the music forward. This is a song that speaks of love and a powerful emotional connection. There’s a break in the leaping drums and a deep bass pulse comes in below Mandi’s yearning spoken word part. There’s a drum fill and the whole song launches again as the warm vocals move over the heartbeat below them. Glittering synth shine flickers again before it all fades out.

3. Year of the Fall - Low Battery Days

This is a song about being trapped in negative emotional cycles, struggling to break free. The soft tick of drums and a dense, slowly oscillating series of full, string-like notes is joined by a smooth pulse of drums. The spinning arpeggios give way to Dan Vaccaro’s gentle, tremulous and aching vocals over the steady pulsation of the bass. The lyrics are pained but full of a desire to break free of a self-imposed prison.

Philipp Kappestein weaves an intricate synth tapestry to support the vocals. Quick flickers of glimmering synth leap through the trembling sensation of emotion in the lyrics. Bright, melancholy synth sings out an emotive melodic line while Dan Vaccaro speaks of his struggle to break free of the patterns that have trapped him. The beat throbs on in a gently moving way while the vocals tremulously touch the music.

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